The title was suggested by my research into autism. I was fascinated by a claim, backed by some scholarly evidence, that people on the autistic spectrum have genetic traits which are specifically Neanderthal in origin, rather than those of homo sapiens. An unusual affinity with animals is thought to be one of the traits.
I narrated some of the experiences of an autistic but ‘high functioning’ young woman in the sequence ‘On the Spectrum’. Like many women, the protagonist has learnt to adapt to the neurotypical world without fully conforming to it. I use both free verse and more formal patterning to create the doubled identity of adaptation. One of the poems, for example, consists of ten anagrams built on, and including, a final statement, ‘I am a stone lens’. This prosodic mixture is a feature of the collection as a whole.
In another dualism of focus, the collection includes responses to the cityscape and riverside of Hull (‘Remote Bermudas’) and the rural landscape of North Wales, ‘Spring Forward, Fall Back: a Gwynedd Skein’. There are translations of Pasternak, Brodsky and Attila Joszef.